NFC East Free Agency Update

Posted on March 21, 2014 by Harvey Valentine

The Philadelphia Eagles made an early free-agency period splash in the NFC East when they acquired Darren Sproles from New Orleans via trade. The Redskins made news with the signing of defensive tackle Jason Hatcher. The Giants have been busy throughout, and the Cowboys have been shedding salary.

Familiar names leaving the division include DeMarcus Ware, Hakeem Nicks and Justin Tuck, and Michael Vick and Miles Austin are likely to leave as well.

Among the new faces the Redskins will see twice per year are Sproles, Walter Thurmond, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Mario Manningham (coming back).

Here are the moves NFC East teams have made thus far.

Dallas Cowboys

Unlike the Redskins, the Cowboys began free agency with a payroll higher than the salary cap. They picked up some space by releasing veteran defensive end Ware and wide receiver Austin. The Cowboys ended up losing more of their pass rush when defensive tackle Hatcher departed.

Dallas has signed defensive ends Terrell McClain and Henry Melton, and is pursuing defensive end Jared Allen and trying to retain one of its own free-agent defensive ends, Anthony Spencer.

Former Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, 30, will get a fresh start in Dallas. The Dallas Morning News reported in February that current backup Kyle Orton, who is 31, was considering retirement.

COMING IN: DE Jeremy Mincey (Broncos), DT Terrell McClain (Texans), QB Brandon Weeden (Browns), DT Henry Melton (Bears), 

GOING OUT: DT Jason Hatcher (Redskins), DE DeMarcus Ware (cut, signed with Broncos), C Phil Costa (cut, signed with Colts), WR Miles Austin (cut), DT Corvey Irvin (cut, signed with Lions)

STAYING: K Dan Bailey, P Chris Jones

2014 CAP SPACE (according to $6.4 million

New York Giants

The Giants were in the market for cornerbacks and they found two, signing Thurmond and Rodgers-Cromartie.

They've been active during free agency thus far and have filled major needs with guard Geoff Schwartz and running back Rashad Jennings. The Giants have also brought back key players such as linebacker Jon Beason.

On March 18, they celebrated a homecoming of sorts when Super Bowl XLVI hero Mario Manningham signed with the team after spending the last two years with San Francisco.

The Giants also lost three key players from their last championship team, Hakeem Nicks, Justin Tuck and Linval Joseph.

COMING IN: WR Mario Manningham (49ers), CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, WR/KR Trindon Holliday (Broncos), S Quintin Demps (Chiefs), RB Rashad Jennings (Raiders), LB Jameel McClain (Ravens), G Geoff Schwartz (Chiefs), C J.D. Walton (Redskins), CB Walter Thurmond (Seahawks)

GOING OUT: OL Kevin Boothe (Raiders), DT Linval Joseph (Vikings), S Ryan Mundy (Bears), LB Keith Rivers (Bills), TE Brandon Myers (Buccaneers), WR Hakeem Nicks (Colts), DE Justin Tuck (Raiders), C David Bass (cut)

STAYING: LB Jon Beason, K Josh Brown, S Stevie Brown, LB Mark Herzlich, RB Peyton Hillis, FB Henry Hynoski, QB Curtis Painter, CB Trumaine McBride 

2014 CAP SPACE (according to $5.1 million

Philadelphia Eagles

Thus far, division champion Philadelphia's major acquisition came via trade when the Eagles sent a fifth-round draft pick to New Orleans for running back Sproles.

On defense, they signed the likes of safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback Nolan Carroll.

USA Today gave the Eagles an A for their work thus far, and Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer said the team "targeted specific players they thought fit their scheme, could provide in-roster competition, and were versatile enough to help on special teams."

That good feeling lessened March 21 when the Allentown Morning Call reported a source close to receiver DeSean Jackson saying he's bothered by questions surrounding his future and won't return to the team in 2014.

COMING IN: RB Darren Sproles (via trade with Saints), S Malcolm Jenkins (Saints), CB Nolan Carroll (Dolphins), LB Bryan Braman (Texans), S Chris Maragos (Seahawks)

GOING OUT: DE Clifton Geathers (Redskins), WR Jason Avant (cut), S Patrick Chung (cut)

STAYING: S Nate Allen, WR Riley Cooper, P Donnie Jones, WR Jeremy Maclin, DT Cedric Thornton

2014 CAP SPACE: $16.2 million

Washington Redskins

Franchising linebacker Brian Orakpo ate up a large chunk of the team's approximately $30 million in cap space, and the Redskins started off slowly when free agency began. They staved off criticism that they hadn't done enough with the signing of Hatcher.

But, as the second week of free agency began, they had yet to address one of their primary needs, the safety position. They re-signed 2013 starter Brandon Meriweather and are still pursuing Ryan Clark (Steelers), who visited March 13.

They also have needs along the offensive line, and have hosted center Brian De La Puente (Saints) and guard/center Mike McGlynn (Colts).

COMING IN: LB Akeem Jordan (Buccaneers), OT Bruce Campbell (Panthers), CB Tracy Porter (Raiders), DT Jason Hatcher (Cowboys), WR Andre Roberts (Cardinals), G Shawn Lauvao (Browns), LB Adam Hayward (Buccaneers), DE Clifton Geathers (Eagles), K Jake Rogers

GOING OUT: C J.D. Walton (Giants), LB Darryl Tapp (Lions), DE Adam Carriker (cut), P Sav Rocca (cut), C Will Montgomery (cut), RB Jawan Jamison (cut), RB Davin Meggett (cut)

STAYING: LB Brian Orakpo (franchise tag), S Brandon Meriweather, WR Santana Moss, DT Chris Baker, LB Perry Riley, CB DeAngelo Hall, S Jose Gumbs, WR Aldrick Robinson

2014 CAP SPACE: $7.2 million

next up:

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